published Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Curtis Granderson lifts New York Mets over Atlanta Braves 4-3 in 14

Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis, left, looks after New York Met's Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly during the fourteenth inning of the baseball game at Citi Field, Sunday, April 20, 2014 in New York. The Mets defeated the Braves in extra innings 4-3.
Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis, left, looks after New York Met's Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly during the fourteenth inning of the baseball game at Citi Field, Sunday, April 20, 2014 in New York. The Mets defeated the Braves in extra innings 4-3.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NEW YORK — Slumping newcomer Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly in the 14th inning and the New York Mets outlasted the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Sunday to prevent a three-game sweep.

David Wright had four hits and New York took advantage of three early errors by Atlanta, which had won seven of eight. Granderson went 0 for 6 with an error and was booed all afternoon, but turned those jeers to cheers at the end of a long day.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis drew a leadoff walk from Gus Schlosser (0-1) and advanced on Ruben Tejada's sacrifice bunt. Eric Young Jr. was intentionally walked to bring up Granderson, hitless in his last 16 at-bats and stuck in a 4-for-44 slide that's dropped his average to .127.

The runners moved up on a wild pitch and Granderson lifted the next delivery into medium left field. Nieuwenhuis slid home ahead of Justin Upton's throw, and the Mets mobbed Granderson near first base.

New York manager Terry Collins moved Granderson from cleanup to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, hoping to get him going. Granderson, who even tried an unsuccessful drag bunt, signed a $60 million, four-year contract in December after an injury-plagued season across town with the Yankees.

Jose Valverde (1-0) worked a scoreless inning for the win, hours after he was demoted from his closer role in favor of Kyle Farnsworth.

As late-afternoon shadows crept toward the mound, neither team could muster much offensively in extra innings.

Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out five in three hitless innings for the Mets. Called up from the minors last week, Matsuzaka was pitching on consecutive days for the first time in the majors. He made his second career relief appearance in his season debut Saturday night.

Scott Rice kept it tied in the seventh by getting New York nemesis Freddie Freeman to ground into an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.

Mets starter Zack Wheeler tossed six innings against his hometown team before he was pulled for a pinch hitter in a game that lasted 4 hours, 37 minutes.

Braves rookie David Hale wriggled out of bases-loaded jams in the second and sixth — both after errors by second baseman Dan Uggla. Hale was making his second straight start against the Mets and pitching for the first time in 10 days because his scheduled outing Tuesday in Philadelphia was rained out.

Wheeler helped himself with an early RBI grounder and took a 2-0 lead into the fifth. Then he issued a leadoff walk and the Braves hit three straight one-out doubles to surge ahead.

Jason Heyward bounced the first one inside first base and Granderson was slow getting to the ball after it caromed off a retaining wall. He uncorked a wild throw between home and third that tailed all the way through a small opening in Atlanta's protective dugout screen, allowing Hale to score on the error.

B.J. Upton doubled off the right-center wall for his second RBI of the season. Freeman followed with a ground-rule double to give the Braves a 3-2 lead.

New York tied it on an RBI grounder by Lucas Duda in the sixth, a double-play ball that could have ended the inning if Uggla hadn't botched it. Hale prevented further damage when pinch-hitter Josh Satin fouled out with the bases loaded.

Young was shaken up when he fouled a ball off his right foot in the first inning. But he scored on Wright's groundout after Justin Upton muffed Young's slicing fly for a two-base error.

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